John Axford learned from Cardinal coaches that he was tipping his pitches

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Indians reliever John Axford was a Cardinal for less than two months, including the post-season, at the end of 2013, but it was invaluable. Per John Lott of the National Post, Axford learned from his Cardinal coaches that he had been tipping his pitches.

On John Axford’s first day with the St. Louis Cardinals, his new coaches sat him down for a meeting. We’ve been scouting you for five years, they said. And by the way, you might be interested in one thing we know about you: You’re tipping your pitches.

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His fortunes turned when the Cardinals acquired him last Aug. 30. After he made “one little adjustment” in his delivery, batters no longer knew what to expect. Axford posted a 1.74 ERA in 13 games for St. Louis and topped it off with a 1.59 mark in six post-season games, including two scoreless outings against Boston in the World Series.

The Cardinals could have kept Axford around, but the right-hander was projected to make between $5-6 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility. Instead, the Cardinals non-tendered him in early December. Two weeks later, the Indians signed him to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million, effectively replacing Chris Perez as the closer.

Axford credits his short stint in St. Louis for rediscovering success, saying, “I don’t think I would be in the position I’m in right now with the Cleveland Indians if I wasn’t traded [from Milwaukee].”

Nick Burdi exits game after suffering apparent arm injury

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Pirates pitcher Nick Burdi left Monday night’s game agaisnt the Diamondbacks after appearing to seriously injure his arm. Burdi threw a 1-0 fastball to Jarrod Dyson in the top of the eighth inning and immediately grabbed at his right elbow before crumbling to the dirt on the mound. Burdi was visibly in tears on the mound. Just a heartbreaking moment. Don’t watch it if you can avoid it.

Burdi, 26, was once a top prospect in the Twins’ system. The Phillies acquired him in December 2017 in the Rule 5 draft and traded him to the Pirates that same day for international bonus slot money. Burdi underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 as well. He made his 2018 debut in mid-July after fully rehabilitating.

Burdi allowed five runs on four hits and a walk, recording just one out in Monday’s appearance. He now has a 9.35 ERA with 17 strikeouts and three walks in 8 2/3 innings on the season. It looks like he could be going on the injured list for a while, unfortunately. Hopefully, the injury isn’t anywhere near as bad as it looked. The Pirates should pass along an update on Burdi’s status by tomorrow afternoon.